Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

Animal Farm book cover
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In Animal Farm, Napoleon and Snowball had differing opinions concerning defense. Explain how each leader felt the farm should be protected.

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Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Animal Farm, Snowball and Napoleon have very different ideas about defending the farm and its inhabitants. Snowball, for instance, prefers to copy the tactics of famous and successful generals from history. This is shown in Chapter Four when he reads a book of Julius Caesar's campaigns in preparation for battle.

In contrast, we see how Napoleon handles defense in Chapter Eight when Frederick attacks the farm with his men. Napoleon, for example, takes a far less active role in protecting the farm. He has arranged for a wall to be built around the farm, but when this fails, the animals are forced to fight. Unlike Snowball, Napoleon does not stand at the front of the battle. He directs "operations from the rear."

These differences are important because they illustrate the differences in their leadership more generally. For Snowball, leadership is about working with the other animals and considering what is best for everyone, while Napoleon is only concerned with himself and his own preservation.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree.  Napoleon clearly advocated the use of force in any confrontation in order to keep the farm.  Snowball, on the other hand, was a bit more of a diplomat.  He studied Roman war theory and wanted to create a worldwide power grab in order to place every farm on equal footing.  If all had what Animal Farm had, he figured, there would be no need for fighting.  Ironically, when the attack does come, Napoleon is in hiding while Snowball leads the charge.  Napoleon does end up using force to keep the farm; but, ironically, he uses it against his fellow animals.

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xmahaney | Student

Chapter 5 describes several disagreements between Napoleon and Snowball, and states that the matter of defense was the most heated.  Napoleon insisted that the animals must obtain guns and learn how to use them.  In this way the animals would be able to kill and defeat any humans that attacked them.  Snowball’s strategy was to send the pigeons to all the other farms and persuade the animals to take control there, too.  His point was that, if animals were in control everywhere, the humans would not be able to attack any of them in the first place.